For those of us who’ve ever bought a new tractor, taking delivery of it usually means waiting for the dealership truck to come down the driveway and unload it. The driver rolls it off the deck, leaves it running and says, “There you go,” before high tailing it off to some other job.
It may be a memorable day for the farm family, but it isn’t exactly a pipes-and-drums event in the grand scheme of things. So what would that day look like if a brand actually wanted to make it a really special event? I think I now know the answer to that question. It would look like what took place at Versatile’s R&D facility near Winnipeg this week.
About 100 customers who purchased one of the company’s special Legendary Limited Edition tractors, along with their dealers, were invited to a unique event where they received the keys to their new rides. All 50 of the machines were lined up on the company test track waiting for their owners to arrive. But that was just the culmination of a full day’s activities, new owners were treated to a guided tour of the tractor assembly plant and a hospitality meeting in a Winnipeg hotel before heading out to the ceremony.
Senior managers at Versatile personally met with each customer and their family and presented them with their tractor keys and a special edition leather jacket. Then, the whole group posed for a photo in front of their tractor. I watched as that process was repeated nearly 50 times, as the executives made their way down the row of tractors.
There were, of course, ample refreshments and good food to keep everyone smiling. And smiling seemed to be the order of the day. I’ve never seen so many happy people mingling with tractors. And why wouldn’t they all be happy? How often do you take delivery of a new piece of equipment that way?
One family of new owners even brought grandpa, who told me he was the very first one to buy a model 118 Versatile decades ago when it was introduced. The brand has been a big part of that family’s farming heritage. However, there were many others at the event who were first time Versatile buyers. I asked many of them why they decided to buy one of the LLE tractors. Many said they were in the market for a new tractor when the eye-catching styling of these machines first attracted their attention to the brand.
Near the end of the official ceremony, all customers were treated to one more memorable moment. They were the first people other than Versatile employees to see the refurbished Big Roy. As a door opened to the facility’s large building, a driver rolled the tractor out and up to the crowd.
As a marketing effort the special LLE tractors, which sold out within a few weeks of their introduction, were clearly a success. As a good will effort, the presentation ceremony clearly hit one out of the park too. After all, how often does a brand president personally thank you for buying one of his company’s tractors? No one there will forget that anytime soon.